PORT ST. LUCIE — His heat was impressive, but Noah’s arc was downright scary.
Or as Mets manager Terry Collins gushed after watching stud pitching
prospect Noah Syndergaard’s initial bullpen session of the spring on
Monday: “This kid is throwing 97 mph with a hook from hell — really
With principal owner Fred Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and
Collins among those watching behind a line of mounds at the Mets’ spring
training complex, the 21-year-old Syndergaard’s 40-pitch session was
the most anticipated event in Day 1 of workouts for pitchers and
The right-hander was told by Collins not to push too hard, but admitted the adrenaline kicked in once he stepped on the mound.
“I was pretty amped up,” Syndergaard said.
The expectation is Syndergaard will follow the path taken by Matt
Harvey and Zack Wheeler the last two years and join the Mets in June or
July. But Syndergaard said his job is to make the decision as difficult
as possible when team brass chooses an Opening Day roster.
As it stands, the Mets have Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and
Dillon Gee penciled into the rotation, with Daisuke Matsuzaka, John
Lannan and Jenrry Mejia as the main competitors for the fifth spot.
With Syndergaard’s workload likely to be capped around 145 innings
pitched this season, his appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas could be
limited in length. According to a club source, Syndergaard may face
plenty of five-inning starts for Las Vegas.
Syndergaard, who arrived with Travis d’Arnaud in the trade that sent
R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays before last season, split 2013 between
Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. Overall, he was 9-4 with a
3.06 ERA and struck out 133 batters in 117 2/3 innings.
“Right now I’m going into camp hoping to make the starting rotation,”
Syndergaard said. “But if not, I know there is a bigger picture
involved, and when the organization thinks I’m ready is when I’ll
officially be ready and I’ll look forward to being in New York.”
At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, Syndergaard is certainly an imposing presence.
“When you hear the guys on the team that are big saying, ‘My God,
look at the size of this guy,’ that’s what is impressive,” Collins said.
Syndergaard indicated he spent much of the offseason trying to a
refine a changeup that can complement his fastball, curve and slider. He
indicated he threw 8-10 changeups on Monday and liked the results.
“I kind of impressed myself a little bit,” Syndergaard said.
There may not be a bullpen session by a Mets pitcher that gets as scrutinized this spring.
“I remember last year throwing my first bullpen and being pretty
nervous as well,” Syndergaard said. “But this year really trumps it all.
It was really nothing compared to this, having all the reporters and
the brass in town. It was really cool.”